The first snow of the year was on the day you were born. The snow, like my labour, had threatened to come for days, but had held off, teasing nervous drivers and weathermen alike with slate coloured skies and the ominous stillness that seems to precede the flakes. Nobody, it turned out, was threatened by my labour but you, something we knew only after my midwife had palpated my bulging stomach in concentrated silence, pursed lips alerting me that something was not as it should be.
You were nearly ten days overdue, and you were transverse. Again. But this time, we couldn’t wait for you to turn yourself around. This time, we had to go to the hospital. This time, birth was not going to be as planned.
Some might say that the snow, the unexpected hospital birth were a sign. I think they’re right, but the sign was not of something nefarious. The sign was that you, like the snow, would not be controlled, predictable. I could always speculate on how you would behave, react, respond, but I would not always be right.
And I am so much the better for it.
You, at four years old, are not the child I thought I would have. You came to me at a sad, confusing time, but you have given me not a moment of doubt or sadness. Fear, yes, laughter, yes, frustration, yes, joy, oh yes, and wonder, but never a moment of doubt.
You have surprised and delighted me every day of your life, from your ability to sleep so well as an infant and the shock of blonde, blonde hair you sprouted early, to your capacity for empathy and your ability to say sorry when you think you’ve done something wrong – not a trait you learned from me. Your sweetness is matched only by your absurd sense of humour, which, coupled with a laugh that could melt the steeliest of hearts, I am fortunate to get the chance to enjoy every day.
I hope I am doing well by you. I hope that I am nurturing your sensitive as well as your mischievous instincts, for those are things that I cherish in you most. I hope that you will always treat people and spiders with the love that you do at age four.
I hope that your sister will always be your best friend and that you will always say, Come here, you! before diving in for a hug. I hope that you will forgive me for telling you that your hair was darkening, and that you will continue to ask me to wipe away your tears. I hope you always want me to sing to you before bed.
I hope that we are giving you a cozy, safe childhood in a cozy, safe home. I hope you will always want to be here, or at least, to come back here. I hope you will eventually let me brush your hair without screaming.
I hope that, like the snow, or your birth, you will always remain unpredictable and in control of your own destiny. I hope you will always be as happy as you are today, the day you turn four.